WORTHINGTON -- Successful high school hurdlers Sommer Schaap of Southwest Christian/Edgerton and Emmett Bicket of Worthington are winning events. But they both know they still have a long way to go to perfect their craft.
After they both ran and leapt to victories Thursday in the 100-meter and 110-meter hurdles, respectively, at a five-team meet in Worthington, they took a moment to take stock of where they’re at and where they want to be.
Schaap won her 100-meter hurdle race handily at Trojan Field, and she was asked if she’d lost any 100-meter events this spring.
“I don’t believe I have, but I haven’t run against Michelle Neece yet,” said the talented SWC/E senior. “She’s my favorite runner to race against. She’s also very nice. She pushes me, ‘cuz I’m like, ‘Oh, yes, Michelle’s running today.’ I love running against her, honestly.”
Neece, from Pipestone Area, is the defending Minnesota state Class A 100-meter champion. Schaap, however, is certainly no novice. She competed at state for the last two seasons at the 100-meter hurdles and seems to be healing well after pulling a quadriceps muscle earlier this year. Her goal is to return to state and improve her time.
“I kind of just want to PR (get a personal record). Bring down my time. Just be ready to compete no matter who I run against.”
On Thursday, Schaap won her 100-meter hurdle event in 16.56, and she also won the triple jump by going 32-10.5 and was second in the long jump. Bicket won his 110-meter hurdle race in 16.30, beating Southwest Chrisitan/Edgerton’s Shane Van Essen (16.34) with a lean at the finish line. He also won the 300-meter hurdles, timed in 43.85.
Like Schaap, Bicket is working his way back from injury. He had surgery on his tailbone last fall, then went back for surgery at the end of the basketball season. Despite that, he’s been winning races.
“I’ve just been trying to build back the muscle strength and memory,” he said Thursday.
Bicket will compete at the 110-meter hurdles today (Friday) at the prestigious Howard Wood Relays in Sioux Falls.
He has been hurdling since the seventh grade, but there are many parts to a successful hurdler. The hardest thing, he said, is getting the leg flexibility right.
“It presents a different challenge than flat-out running. Trying to jump those last two hurdles are always a struggle,” he explained.
The weather Thursday at Trojan Field was comfortable and well-suited to track and field. The Trojan boys have done well this year, said co-head coach Jessica Hogan, and the girls, though they have less depth, continue to improve.
“Overall, great,” Hogan said at the start of Thursday’s meet. “We’ve had a lot of personal bests this year. The boys are scoring well as a team, but even the girls are scoring better than they did last year. We’re looking forward to (section) True Team and conference next week. It’ll be tough. There’s some really good competition there. It’s a good time to see how much the kids have improved, and to see how it helps their confidence.”
The Worthington boys outpointed SWC/E 186 to 96.5 to win the team competition Thursday. Windom Area was next with 50 points, followed by Adrian with 29 and Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central with 9.5.
Windom Area won a tight girls competition with 96 points, followed by SWC/E with 93, Worthington 88, W-WG/RRC 48 and Adrian 32.
Besides Bicket, the Worthington boys got double wins from Bryce Olsen (46-2.5 in the shot put and 136-6 in the discus), Abagotte Opiew (24.56 in the 200 meters and 38-10.25 in the triple jump), and Andrew Huber (4:44.81 in the 1,600 meters and 10:49.29 in the 3,200 meters). Eh Kyoo won the 100-meter dash in 11.74, Ammanuel Ojha won the 400 meters in 53.59, Marenono Opiew won the high jump in 5-6, and Robert Street won the long jump in 19-6.
Worthington also won the 4x100 and 4x200-meter relay events.
Southwest Christian/Edgerton had wins from Avery Pater in the 800 meters (2:08.39) and Joshua Raak in the pole vault (11-6). The SWC/E 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams also captured first place.
The Trojans’ victories on the girls’ side included Taylor Eggers in the 200 meters (27.48), Maranda Thier in the 1,600 meters (6:20.22), Sena Uli in the 3,200 meters (13:28.55) and Kya Nickel in the high jump (4-10).
Windom Area got wins from Delaney Smith in the shot put (40-8) and discus (126-11), Shiro Ogeka in the 100 meters (14-03), Gracie Bucher in the 800 (2:30.43) and Victoria Christoffer in the long jump (14-7.5). The Eagles’ 4x100 relay team also won.
Southwest Christian/Edgerton’s Cybil Vander Top won the 400 meters (1:06.28), and the SWC/E 4x400 and 4x800-meter relay teams were also victorious.
W-WG/RRC’s Camryn Bunting won the 300-meter hurdles in 53.73 and teammate Hunnter Bloch took the pole vault in 7-0. W-WG/RRC also won the 4x200-meter relay.
Complete results are on athletic.net.